From Steamboats to Steam Engines

  • Skeena 1916

    The Skeena river boat leaving Mission.

  • Mission Junction

    Train arriving at Mission Junction, 1937

  • First car in Mission

    Owned by J.A. Catherwood, this vehicle was most likely the first car in Mission.

Prior to the 1880s, the primary mode of transportation was via river or horse carriage. Steamboats were a frequent sight along the Fraser, ferrying passengers and goods up and down the coast. Even after the construction of Mission Junction station in 1885, the cheaper fare of steamboats made them a popular choice for travel. It wasn’t until the growing influence of the horseless carriage – the common automobile – that steamships began to wane.

The much-promised transcontinental railway was a major selling point for the city soon to be known as Mission. The CPR bridge (built 1891) crossing the Fraser was part of BC’s first rail link to the United States.